GHDI logo

Norbert Blüm and Wolfgang Schäuble Debate the Location of the Capital (June 20, 1991)

page 2 of 4    print version    return to list previous document      next document

France and England show us what dominating central cities mean to regions and provinces. Even without the seat of government and parliament, Berlin will be the preeminent cultural and economic metropolis of our fatherland. It will be Germany’s capital city in the truest sense of the word. Nobody disputes Berlin’s rank in this regard. I ask: Does it need the seat of government and parliament on top of that?

(Applause from deputies of the CDU/CSU, the FDP, and the SPD)

Let the much smaller Bonn keep her parliament and government! Bonn loses a lot with the relocation of the Bundestag and the government, and Berlin acquires many new problems: housing problems, urban planning problems, infrastructure problems.

[ . . . ]

Colleagues! Let us bring today’s decision down from the lofty heights of historical, cultural, and political perspectives! For once, let us consider it from the perspective of those who are affected! A state that is not connected to life is a foreign, distant, a cold state.

(Applause from deputies of the CDU/CSU)

The jobs of 100,000 people in this region are affected by the move of the government and parliament.

(Shouts from the FDP)

One out of every three working people would be affected. On top of this are the families. One hundred thousand working people! It’s as though ten steel plants or mines were being shut down in a single city. It’s not only state secretaries or ministerial directors who are employed in Bonn. It’s people who’ve created a life for themselves here.

(Applause from deputies of the CDU/CSU and the SPD)

You don’t carry your home [Heimat] around like the shell of a snail.

This century has inflicted a lot of uprooting on people. The state shouldn’t be the one carrying out a collective resettlement. Must be what need not be? Reunification must not be combined with a program of homelessness, in no part of Germany, in no city! We are already suffering enough from migratory movements within Germany; we must not add to them voluntarily.

Some skip too easily over the human costs of the move. And it’s not petty to point to the financial burden of the move. Don’t we need every Mark, today and tomorrow, for the rebuilding of the new federal states?

(Applause from deputies of the CDU/CSU, the FDP, and the SPD)

The unemployed woman or the unemployed man, the young girl looking for an apprenticeship, the young man in Gera, Leipzig, Rostock, Erfurt, Frankfurt an der Oder, Schwerin, Magdeburg, Dresden, Chemnitz, Halle, or Bitterfeld – they probably have worries other than the question of what institutions a capital city needs to be outfitted with.

(Applause from deputies of the CDU/CSU, the FDP, and the SPD – boos from deputies of the FDP)

[ . . . ]

first page < previous   |   next > last page